Canadian government ‘will respect’ Kyoto law

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The Conservative Canadian government have decided to obey the Kyoto bill which was a forced decision by the opposition Liberals. Prior to this decision, the Liberal opposition party said the government could be sued if they would ignore the law.

“If and when that becomes law, the government would respect it. I’ll just point out … that the bill has no plan of action in it, the bill gives the government no authority to spend any money to have a plan of action,” Canadian PM Stephen Harper told the House on Thursday. “Of course, if and when that becomes law, the government would respect it.”

The bill will be sent to the Senate of Canada for approval before it is actually made law. The legislation will only give the government 60 days to come up with a plan that meets with the Kyoto Protocol.

Kyoto wants to drop 6% of greenhouse gas emissions starting from 1990 to 2012. The Conservatives say it is bad for the Canadian economy.

Political experts are now saying that a federal election could come as soon as spring 2007. The Conservatives were elected on the 23 of Januar … Read More

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Al-Qaida claims responsibility for London 7/7 bombings

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Al Jazeera has aired two video tapes by Al Qaida on Thursday evening. In one of them, the terror group’s second in command Ayman al-Zawahiri has claimed responsibility for the July 7 London bombings and threatened further attacks. The alleged leader of the London bombers, Mohammad Sidique Khan, appeared on a separate recording and outlined his reasons for the bombings.

Speaking in English with a Yorkshire accent, Kahn stated that the Blair government is to blame for the attacks. He claimed that the West is backing governments who commit crimes against humanity. Western citizens should no longer feel safe, he said and threatened similar attacks upon them: “Until you stop the bombing, gassing, imprisonment and torture of my people we will not stop this fight. We are at war and I am a soldier. Now you too will taste the reality of this situation”

Al-Zawahiri described the 7/7 attacks as “a slap to the policy of British Prime Minister Tony Blair” and called the attacks a response to the UK’s foreign policy “just as 9/11 was a response to America’s”.

Scotland Yard said they are “aware of the tape; we will consider it as part of our ongoing investigation”. British Foreign secretarcy Jack Straw said there was “no excuse, no justification for terrorism of any kind”.

Gous Ali, a Muslim whose girlfriend was killed in the bombing, condemned the broadcast as being “wrong and all lies”. “It’s all brainwashing by some wacko scholar who believes his own version of the Koran and has made it his own battle. There is no holy war”, he told the BBC.

Muslim Council of Britain spokesman Inayat Bunglawala said that holding the British Public responsible for the war “is just plain wrong – this country was bitterly divided and many millions, perhaps the majority, clearly opposed the war.”

Experts are currently investigating the tape for possi … Read More

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Controversy over effects of new bankruptcy law on victims of Katrina

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Hurricane Katrina has rekindled debate over the controversial Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005, in the U.S. House of Represenatives. Congressional Democrats feel that among the hundreds of thousands of victims of Katrina, many of whom have lost all their possessions and are coping with relocation, those that declare bankruptcy should be granted the protections of the previous law. 32 Democrats have sponsored a proposal that would delay implementing certain parts of the law to “insure that we do not compound a natural disaster with a man made financial disaster.”

The new bankruptcy law affects anyone whose income (as of the six months before filing) was over the state median income. Democratic legislators point out that many hurricane victims who manage to find work will be suffering from wage reductions, making them unable to effectively deal with their previous debts. Among U.S. states, Louisana and Mississippi have the fourth and third lowest median incomes, respectively. Democrats also feel that it is unfair to require repayment by bankrupted Hurricane Katrina victims while citizens in other states with similar incomes would pay nothing.

F. James Sensenbrenner, Republican from Wisconsin and chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, has denied a hearing on creating an exception in the law for the purposes of Katrina relief. He noted that “If someone in Katrina is down and out, and has no possibility of being able to repay 40 percent or more of their debts, then the new bankruptcy law doesn’t apply.”

The Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 has been heavily criticized by consumer rights’ organizations. The Consumer Federation of America argues that “[the] new requirements, coupled with strict deadlines for production upon the penalty of an automatic dismissal are difficult for the most organized person to meet, never mind someone who has had his or her home destroyed by Katrina.”

Opponents of the bill also argued that it makes the government “a bill collector for private companies”, and could lead to criminal prosecutions over matters best left in civil courts, and theoretically even to life imprisonment under federal three-strikes laws. Such opponents view the bulk of the act either as “bought and paid for” by the Credit Card Industry, who spent millions lobbying in support of the bill, or else as an unfortunate compromise between the lobbyists for banks and bankruptcy lawyers, such as the American Bankruptcy Institute (ABI). Nathalie Martin, of ABI, said that “Many people will still qualify to file for Chapter 7,” which means liquidation of assets in exchange for cancellatio … Read More

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CanadaVOTES: NDP candidate Anne Lagacé Dowson in Westmount—Ville-Marie

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In an attempt to speak with as many candidates as possible during the 2008 Canadian federal election, Wikinews has talked via email with Anne Lagacé Dowson. Dowson is a candidate in Quebec’s Westmount—Ville-Marie riding, running under the New Democratic Party (NDP) banner.

There is no incumbent in Dowson’s riding, as the area’s Liberal MP resigned earlier this year. A by-election was scheduled, but cancelled at the last minute, once Prime Minister Stephen Harper called a national election. Candidates in the riding are Dowson (NDP), former astronaut Marc Garneau (Liberal), Charles Larivée (Bloc Québécois), Guy Dufort (Conservative), and co-deputy party leader for the Greens Claude William Genest. Judith Vienneau of the joke party Neorhino.ca is also on the ballot.

The riding includes the City of Westmount, parts of Old Montreal, the Borough of Ville-Marie, Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, and The Plateau.

The following is an interview with Ms. Dowson, conducted via email. The interview is published unedited, as sent to … Read More

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13 killed in U.S. air strike in Pakistan

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A suspected United States drone missile attack in northwestern Pakistan has left 13 people dead, local security officials say.

The strike hit a town in the tribal area of North Waziristan, near the Afghan border, an apparent stronghold of Al-Qaeda militants.

“Thirteen people were killed. Ten of them are militants and the identity of the other three — whether they are militants or civilians — is not yet confirmed,” a local official told AFP, asking to remain anonymous.

“The missile hit a house where some guests were staying. We have information that 13 people were killed including some guests,” an intelligence official stated.

The apparent target was the home of Tariq Khan, a local Wazir tribesman, who has been described as a ‘facilitator of the Taliban’.

Pakistan has repeatedly condemned the U.S. drone attacks. Just two days prior to this latest attack, foreign ministry spokesman Abdul Basit told a press briefing that “they are violations of our sovereignty and secondly they are counterproductive. They are not helpful in our efforts to win hearts and minds. So we cannot accept drone attacks,” he said.

US special envoy Richard Holbrooke is scheduled to visit Pakistan next week and this issue will be discussed, according to Basit.

More than 35 suspected drone attacks have killed over 340 people since August … Read More

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Iran to expand military and economic ties with Iraq; will reconstruct nation

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Iran has announced that the country plans to expand its military and economic ties with Iraq, and that there are plans to build a branch of the Iranian Nation Bank in downtown Baghdad.

Hassan Kazemi Qumi, Iran’s ambassador to Baghdad has stated to The New York Times that the country plans to reconstruct Iraq and offer military training and supplies to the Iraqi military force for “the security fight.” Qumi said the United States failed in the reconstruction of Iraq.

“We have experience of reconstruction after war. We are ready to transfer this experience in terms of reconstruction to the Iraqis,” said Qumi.

In a first public statement, Qumi said that 2 Iranian men who were captured inside Iraq by U.S. forces and then later freed, were indeed part of the Iranian security force, which is in accordance with what the U.S. had always thought. Qumi, however, denied that the men were doing anything illegal, and were in fact in Iraq to conduct “legitimate” talks with the government of Iraq and they “should not have been detained” by U.S. forces.

“They worked in the security sector in the Islamic Republic, that’s clear,” added Qumi.

In regards to opening an Iranian Nation Bank in Baghdad, Qumi stated that a license has been granted and issued to the government of Iran to allow a bank to be built in Baghdad. Hussein al-Uzri, a senior official for Iraq’s national bank confirmed that a license has been issued and that “[the bank] will enhance trade between the two countries.” Qumi says that several more banks will follow including agricultural banks and private banks.

In regards to cooperating through the economy, Qumi states that electricity and kerosene will be supplied to Iraq and that agriculture cooperatives will also be built.

Qumi states that he will not reveal “specific details” of military operations or plans in Iraq, but did say that border patrols along the Iran-Iraq border will increase and that a “joint security committee” will also be formed.

The U.S. has not commented directly on Qumi’s statement, but a spokesman for the U.S. Department of State, Sean McCormack, says that any Iranian influence or activity in Iraq is “a negative role in many … Read More

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Pakistan test fires nuclear-capable missile

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Pakistan announced that their military conducted a successful test-firing of a nuclear-capable missile, with a range of 2,000 km (1,200 miles), earlier today.

“Today, we carried out a successful test-firing of the indigenously developed Shaheen II missile,” announced a Pakistani military official.

A statement issued by the Pakistani military noted that Pakistan gave prior notice of the test to nearby countries.

“The test was carried out to verify some of the refined technical parameters,” the statement said, “Al Hamd-o-Lillah’ (With the grace of God) all parameters were validated.”

Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf congratulated the engineers and scientists who conducted the successful test.

“The capability was here to stay, will continue to go from strength to strength and no harm will ever be allowed to come to it,” said Musharraf.

The Press Trust of India pointed out that the missile, “was capable of hitting targets deep into the Indian territory,” and that the missile had been test-fired previously under the name Hatf-VI, as a counterpart to India’s Agni-II missile system.

India and Pakistan have both conducted a series of missile tests in t … Read More

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